UCL Department of Chemical Engineering


Ruoyu Xu

Ruoyu Xu is a PhD student studying under the supervision of Dr Ryan Wang and Prof Dan Brett in both Materials and Catalysis Lab and Electrochemical Innovation Lab. His current research focuses on electro-catalysis and heterogeneous catalysis based on nanomaterials and porous materials.

Prior to join the department of Chemical Engineering, he received his BSc degree in Chemistry at University of Sheffield in 2015, and MSc degree in Materials for Energy and Environment at University College London in 2016

Research project

Title: Design and Study of Post-Treated Conjugated Microporous Polymers Employed as catalyst support for PEM Fuel Cells

Proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) can efficiently convert chemical energy to electricity via electrochemical reactions which occur on cathode and anode. They have attracted considerable attention due to the high power density and carbon free process for portable electronic devices and automobiles. Several challenging issues, in particular the sluggish oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) kinetics needs to be addressed for the commercial PEMFC techniques. In the state-of-the-art PEMFC configuration, the ORR takes place on a three phase boundary between an electrolyte, an electrode and a gaseous fuel.

At the boundary, the catalyst particles reduce the oxygen, the carbon support conducts electrons and the ionomer delivers the protons for ORR. The overall electro-chemical behaviour of such a system is determined by an intimate convolution of fundamental materials’ properties and microstructure geometry. The heterogeneous kinetics of this reaction is one of the limiting factors in PEMFCs performance. An increasing density of three phase boundary will enhance the reaction rate and the overall efficiency of PEMFCs. One effective strategy to achieve this purpose is to develop a support that can transport both protons and electrons.

Conjugated microporous polymers (CMPs) are sub-class of both porous materials and conjugated polymers, which possess many of the same properties of car bon support, such as mechanical rigidity, insolubility and high conductivity. Furthermore, a possible post treatment of the polymer could result in additional proton conductivity. Here, the research project will focus on the development of highly active and stable fuel cell catalysts based on the CMPs in both Electrochemical Innovation Lab and Materials and Catalysis Lab.


-BSc in Chemistry Department, the University of Sheffield, 2015
-MSc in Chemistry Department, University College London, 2016
-PhD in Chemical Engineering Department, University College London, Present